Climate Change Response Bill 2010

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The Climate Change Response Bill 2010 was published today for consultation, together with an explanatory memorandum.

Art 1-3 are preliminaries. Art 4 has the emission reduction targets:

  • Emission reduction should be 2.5% per year on average between 2008 and 2020. The bill seems to say that 2020 emissions should be 28% below 2007 emissions (i.e., 52 mln tCO2eq). The memorandum says that 2020 emissions should be 26% below 2008 emissions (i.e., 50 mln tCO2eq).
  • 2030 emissions should be 40% below 1990 emissions.
  • 2050 emissions should be 80% below 1990 emissions.

(In fact, the base year is 1995 for the F-gases and 1990 for the other greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 1995, emissions of F-gases rose from 0.06 mln tCO2eq to 0.20 mln tCO2eq so the dual base year just complicates things.)

The 2030 target seems to follow from the fact that 2030 is halfway between 2010 and 2050 and 40% is halfway between 0% and 80%. Annual emission reduction is to be 2.5% between 2010 and 2020, 3.9% between 2020 and 2030, and 5.3% between 2030 and 2050.

Art 5 creates a National Climate Change Plan. Art 6 establishes an annual statement to the Dail. Art 7-10 create a National Climate Change Expert Advisory Body. (The memorandum clarifies that no new expert will be hired.)

Art 11 orders public bodies to have regard for the climate bill and report progress to the Minister of the Environment.

Compared to the Oireachtas bill (discussed here), the Government bill creates much less bureaucracy. That is a good thing. Like the Oireachtas bill, the Government bill has nothing on how the targets are to achieved. This is a serious omissions. It is all good and well to announce a target, but there is more to policy.

The targets are very ambitious, as discussed here. Fortunately, the memorandum assures us that “[t]his Bill does not have immediate significant financial implications for the Exchequer.” The crucial word is “immediate”. The 2020 targets are notably more stringent than the EU targets, and we’re well on track to miss those (at least, according to the EER2010).

UPDATE:

ETS emissions are controlled by the EU rather than by the Irish government. That implies that the additional emission reduction effort for 2020 will fall entirely on the non-ETS sectors. The EU targets are to reduce ETS emissions by 21% in 2020 (relative to 2005) and non-ETS emissions by 20%. The government target is to reduce non-ETS emissions by 37% in 2020 (relative to 2005).

In 2008, non-ETS emissions were about 48 mln tCO2eq, 38% in agriculture, 30% in transport, 16% in households, 9% in services, and 7% in manufacturing.

Note that I assume throughout that LULUCF is as defined for the Kyoto Protocol. Note also that the climate bill is silent on this.

UPDATE 2: See Times, Independent, Examiner

UPDATE 3: There is a Regulatory Impact Assessment, which contains the gem that if you raise energy prices through a carbon tax it would affect the vulnerable and competitiveness, but if you raise energy prices through other means there would be no such impact.

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79 Responses to “Climate Change Response Bill 2010”

  1. Al Says:

    This is crazy nonsense.

    In a time when the solvency of the state is in question, well, the question has already been answered; these enthusiast’s are about to commit the country to targets that we would strain to meet with the Celtic Tiger wealth.
    These lads are so far from an actual days work.

    This should not be introduced and this would be a good time for the FF backbenchers to take a stand against this witless horseshitery.

  2. Paul Hunt Says:

    I’m with Al on this one. The country desperately needs a new government – of whatever complexion. When the Greens decided to pull the plug earlier this month, the remaining duration of this Government was going to be set by the amount of time required to fully enact the provisions of the Budget. The Greens now have no right to seek to extend their costly legislative legacy. Enough is enough.

  3. Brian Lucey Says:

    What a sense of priorities – the day the govt puts 12.something billion into the banks and hte monomanical green prop brings this out. They have zero sense of the political priorities. They display all the attributes of a messianic eschatological cult now.

  4. Pidge Says:

    Yes, Brian, if only they hadn’t brought it out today, then .

  5. Pidge Says:

    Sorry, the rest of that comment didn’t appear, since it was it in what the comment system must interpret as tags.

    What would you prefer? Should the government cancel the planned publication of legislation for no reason, simply because other things are happening? I don’t get what point you’re making.

  6. Richard Tol Says:

    @Pidge, Brian
    I agree with Pidge that a government should multitask.

  7. Debt Slave Says:

    Those calling for a new government to prevent this might have missed Eamon Gilmore’s appearance on The Late Late Show. He implied that he was more of a Green fanatic than Gormley’s chirpy and foul-mouthed crew.

    Anyone know how the wind turbines are coping with this icy weather?

    Or how that vast, unspoiled pygmy shrew refuge in the Wicklow mountains is coming along?

  8. Richard Tol Says:

    @Debt Slave
    Cold and lack of wind tend to go together in these parts.

  9. Debt Slave Says:

    @Richard Tol
    Thanks. I was more worried about our expensive white elephants breaking or killing hapless bystanders with metre-long ice projectiles when they do move. But I guess they have electrically powered brakes and heaters to stop fatal accidents.

  10. jc Says:

    To tired to comment fully, though preliminary observation:

    “where an assessment referred to in subsection (1) is that
    the measures concerned have not been effective or
    sufficiently effective in the achievement of their purpose,
    include a statement of additional measures that, in the
    opinion of the Government, are required to achieve that
    purpose”

    = A+

    But I have some reservations about proposed role of advisory body. Seems like we could have a missed opportunity here.

  11. Michael Hennigan - Finfacts Says:

    Another expert group is proposed; no wonder so many keep their traps shut when they should be doing otherwise.

    This Bill took 18 months to gestate; now it’s a ‘legislative priority’ as the Greens are poised to escape from Planet Bertie.

    People will still set the dogs on them despite what they regard as an accomplishment in saving the Planet.

  12. JD Says:

    How meaningful is to legislate for policy objectives or targets. Who goes to jail if the targets are not met. Policy only needs to be adopted by government, specific legislative actions are required to meet the policy targets, eg taxes, building standards, prohibiting certain actions etc. Passing a law with a target does not make it happen.

  13. Oliver Vandt Says:

    Climate change action IS the Green Party, or should be. In this light some of the comments on this thread lack empathy/understanding. Why they left it so late to pass this legislation is very puzzling. Lord Mayor for Dublin/Bicycle Schemes/Animal Welfare/Political Patronage etc are totally irrelevant in comparison and they showed poor prioritisation in trying to implement them simultaneously. Even the Poolbeg incinerator is a trifling matter, relatively.

    I agree with JD and would go further. Better to have legislatively enshrined annual increases in the carbon tax, that subsequent governments would find problematic to reverse (might even be glad to be bound to), than targets which they can ignore. Given our huge deficit the Greens missed a glorious opportunity.

  14. Oliver Vandt Says:

    @Debt Slave
    I’m not convinced by wind power either. But your rhetorical blunderbuss is better suited to politics.ie.

  15. Debt Slave Says:

    @Oliver Vandt
    The Green Party are polling 2%. If climate change action IS the Green Party then I suggest that only a tiny fraction of the electorate wants this legislation and it should not be written into law.

    I like using energy. It makes my life easier. You want to impose suffering on the people of this country. It is not fair or just. Whether you are convinced by wind power or not €10 billion is to be spent on it in the name of your pet cause.

    I’m not convinced by climate change scare stories. This is the majority opinion among voters.

  16. Will Tax For Food Says:

    Things will improve when politicians can be found on street corners holding signs that read, “Will Tax For Food.”

  17. Richard Tol Says:

    @Michael, Oliver
    The Bill is short and simple. The ambiguity over the 2020 target, the failure to define sinks, and the needless distinction of class A and class B gases suggests that it was written in some haste. There is no impact analysis. This cannot have taken 18 months.

  18. Joseph Says:

    How much is this going to cost me, Joe taxpayer?

  19. Richard Tol Says:

    @Joseph
    Don’t know. We estimated that the previous, less stringent targets would be very expensive.

    See: http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/20080716090749/WP246.pdf

  20. toby Says:

    Unlike Debt Slave, I believe global warming with attendant climate change are happening. I think the majority of voters agree with that, though the state of opinion is difficult to ascertain. Unfortunately, Nature does not consult the state of public opinion before deciding what to do.

    A Climate Change Bill and a price on carbon are absolutely necessary.

    However, I hate to see this become a “Green Party” issue. I have never supported the Green Party, and would have preferred a cross-party Bill. My concern is that the Greens will do the cause of mitigating Climate Change a lot of damage by trying to “own” the issue. It will become all the harder to separate the two in the public mind. That climate change is a “green radical” fad is often use to frame the debate and confuse the issue. This Bill has not made me change my mind one iota about not voting for the Greens.

  21. Cantillonian Says:

    Can anyone doubt now that the Greens are glad the economy crashed? After all, how better to achieve carbon emission goals than to send our society back to the stone age?

  22. EWI Says:

    You want to impose suffering on the people of this country. It is not fair or just.

    The impetus for ‘doing something’ is that much worse suffering will be imposed in the long run if we do nothing. Wouldn’t you agree that that is fairer, and more just?

    I’m not convinced by climate change scare stories. This is the majority opinion among voters.

    The majority of voters trust science (obviously), and science tells us that global warming is real, and happening. Perhaps you have a poll of the Irish electorate which suggests otherwise?

  23. EWI Says:

    Can anyone doubt now that the Greens are glad the economy crashed?

    A quote would be nice to back up this claim.

  24. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    Here’s the latest survey that I’m aware of. It’s pre-climategate and pre-recession, but the Irish were broadly supportive of climate policy.
    http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_300_full_en.pdf

  25. Paul Hunt Says:

    @Richard,

    You identified one gem in the RIA, but it is replete with the type of BS that brings the whole process of impact assessments like this into disrepute. Like almost all of these IAs they start from the answer they want, puff its favourable attributes and urinate copiously on other possible options.

    Applying the ridicule and satire its pomposity invites is inadequate when the outcome risks being so economically damaging. The real crime against the public here is that debate is foreclosed and any ensuing stakeholder consultation will be a sham. The only way this exercise might generate an outcome in the public interest is for the case, supported by relevant evidence, to be proposed before a suitably empowered and resourced Oireachtas Cttee with opportunity for rebuttal and counter-rebuttal (again based on evidence) and consideration of other options in an open and transparent manner.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the policy-formulation process that delivered the horribly damaging fiscal policies and gloriously ineffective bank supervision and financial regulation contnues to be applied so assiduously in all other areas.

  26. pongo Says:

    @Tol

    are they supportive now that a large chunk of them are unemployed?
    are they supportive now that they have to be Debt Slaves for generations?
    are they supportive now that the economy has gone down the gutter?
    are they supportive now that they are paying more for petrol/diesel?
    are they supportive now that they are freezing their asses and heating oil is more expensive?

    Considering that Ireland is now an IMF run 3rd world developing country, especially once you strip out all the assets which where acquired on borrowed money, should we not be exempt from this carbon taxation madness

  27. Richard Tol Says:

    @Pongo
    One would suspect that the average person is less enthusiastic now than when the last survey was done.

    There’s been no chants at Dublin Airport:
    http://www.google.ie/imgres?imgurl=http://pathstoknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/ttm191901cc_rgb_onl_661678a.jpg&imgrefurl=http://pathstoknowledge.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/what-do-we-want-global-warming-when-do-we-want-it-now/&usg=__HBWURig1F3vGqB_pH8dFehiTDKc=&h=435&w=585&sz=82&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=gzVJ69mFMn0gJM:&tbnh=128&tbnw=172&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dwhat%2Bdo%2Bwant%2Bglobal%2Bwarming%2Bwhen%2Bdo%2Bwe%2Bwant%2Bit%2Bnow%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D1255%26bih%3D562%26tbs%3Disch:1%26prmd%3Divns&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=130&vpy=74&dur=301&hovh=194&hovw=260&tx=166&ty=92&ei=wHoUTdezHI2EhQfizMG4Dg&oei=wHoUTdezHI2EhQfizMG4Dg&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0

  28. Brian Woods Says:

    @ Al: “This is crazy nonsense”. Amen!

    @jc: ““where an assessment referred to in subsection (1) is that
    the measures concerned have not been effective or
    sufficiently effective in the achievement of their purpose,
    include a statement of additional measures that, in the
    opinion of the Government, are required to achieve that
    purpose”

    = A+”

    Whose A+??? I thought you were quoting Grouch from ‘Night at the Opera’ . Jeeze!!

    @BL: “They display all the attributes of a messianic eschatological cult now.”

    Messianic eschatological cult. JK Galbraith would be proud of that one.

    BpW

    BpW

  29. Holbrook Fields Says:

    A very happy Christmas to one and all at Irish Economy dot ie – and best wishes for 2011…

    Holbrook

  30. Garo Says:

    A timely article in the NYT then:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/science/earth/22carbon.html

    I’m still amazed at the number of agnotologists who refuse to accept facts when they are shown to be contrary to their dearly held beliefs.

  31. Richard Tol Says:

    @Garo
    Hardly anyone disputes that ambient CO2 is rising. It’s not the subject of this discussion either.

  32. Debt Slave Says:

    I’m aware of a more recent survey regarding the Irish public’s attitudes to Global Warming.

    300 people were asked by Duncan Stewart’s production company earlier this year for a vox pop component of a TV programme. Although exact figures were not released, Duncan told Marian Finucane that about 10% of people had the same viewpoint as Duncan.

    From the several dozen of these interviews broadcast on RTE it’s clear that most of the other 90% believe it to be a scam.

    @EWI

    One internationally renowned polymath (and lead author of several IPCC chapters) told the Inter-Academy Council investigating IPCC failures:

    “Working Group 2 systematically portrays climate change as a bigger problem than is scientifically acceptable.”
    and
    “Working Group 3 systematically portrays climate policy as easier and cheaper than can be responsibly concluded from academic research.”

    http://ipccar5wg2ch10.blogspot.com/2010/05/submission-to-iac-second-draft.html

    Clearly, the majority of voters should not trust this particular offspring of science. And, in reality, they don’t. No matter what you say.

    The “much worse suffering will be imposed in the long run” you claim has no basis in fact. It’s hard to imagine a catastrophe worse than losing 80% of your energy use forever due to a small group of deluded but politically cosseted fanatics.

  33. Richard Tol Says:

    @Debt Slave
    So Brian Cowen is about as popular as Duncan Stewart?

  34. Al Says:

    It is the duty of government to advance the interests and welfare of the nation. This can often involve providing leadership, and I would offer the example of the smoking ban as one minor example that international competitors adapted.
    However, this proposal will be an international of what states will not do, as it is an example of national interest being sacraficed for a future partially understood.
    These moral notions will result in a national economic castration all to satisfy that smug feeling of a class within this country whose children won’t be feeling the consequences in schools nor hospitals.
    This is theocracy not republican government

  35. Debt Slave Says:

    @Richard Tol
    Cowen’s better at climbing trees though.

    Happy Christmas to all and your loved ones.

  36. Al Says:

    Happy hols
    Been an interesting year, and this blog helped keep it interesting and intelligent.
    Respect to the dedication of Philip, Karl, Brian, Eoin, John the optimist and every other person.
    I hope we all get what we deserve next year…
    Lord knows we didn’t deserve this!

  37. EWI Says:

    @ Debt Slave

    One internationally renowned polymath (and lead author of several IPCC chapters) told the Inter-Academy Council investigating IPCC failures

    That “internationally renowned polymath” is (i) an associate of both Lomborg and this lot and (ii) not a climate scientist, but rather an economist (a social science, if I’m not mistaken)

  38. EWI Says:

    @ Debt Slave

    Plus, a small lesson on statistics: “several dozen” != “most”

  39. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    You may be interested to know what I was a professor of geosciences for seven years.

  40. Debt Slave Says:

    @EWI
    I employed techniques from the “social science” of applied psychology to filter the observation.

    My conjecture was that the programme’s funders – (the taxpayer by way of) the EPA, RTE and the Department of the Environment etc. (coincidentally all under the auspices of the Green Party) would be decidedly non-plussed with 52 minutes of people saying “It’s the greatest scam in human history”. I worked my way back from there.

    Given the rarefied and shrinking cohort of the Faithful doubtless you’re in a position to ask Duncan yourself? FOI doesn’t cover it I’m afraid.

    In any case don’t be such a grumpy Scrooge; wish us all a merry Christmas. And stay warm.

  41. Garo Says:

    “You may be interested to know what I was a professor of geosciences for seven years.”

    Adjunct or visiting or regular? Assistant, associate or full? Ordinary or extra-ordinary? Be careful, Michael H. is waiting in the wings, ready to pounce on anyone discussing their non-business (and hence worthless) credentials.

    “@Garo
    Hardly anyone disputes that ambient CO2 is rising. It’s not the subject of this discussion either.”

    Au contraire mon ami. It is a long article, but if you read it in its entirety it discussing the “scientific” objectors that dispute the amount of temperature
    rise the increased anthropogenic CO2 levels will result in and whether humans need to take any steps and if so what?

  42. pligg.com Says:

    The Irish Economy » Blog Archive » Climate Change Response Bill 2010…

    The Irish Economy » Blog Archive » Climate Change Response Bill 2010…

  43. Richard Tol Says:

    @Garo
    Regular (7 yrs), full (7 yrs), extra-ordinary (5 yrs) + ordinary (2 yrs)

  44. Garo Says:

    Thanks Richard. I have to ask you though why you left a good solid hard science to get into a soft hand wavy “science” like Economics? :)

    That was a rhetorical btw just like my previous query! Best wishes.

  45. toby Says:

    A veru good companion piece to the NYT article on Charles, and a reminder about on which side reality lies, whatever about public opinion:

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/tracking-the-temperature-of-a-warming-planet/

    Plus a bonus on article “balanced coverage”:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/climate-change-and-balanced-coverage/

  46. Oliver Vandt Says:

    Taxing pollution makes sense. Taxing carbon seems to make as much sense as taxing labour, consumption, savings or property. The GP have adopted completely the wrong approach in my view. I strongly suspect the next government will completely ignore these targets. But even if it doesn’t work it gives the GP a fig leaf to justify participation in this government. The way they are doing it though really doesn’t show them in a good light.

    I would prefer the GP had adopted a sound economic basis for their actions. By this I mean reducing pollution and carbon emissions at minimal economic cost. Their other initiatives, which the next government will curtail, will have little impact on climate change.

    It could all have been so different. If Gormley had said, “we have a massive deficit. We must raise taxes. I am legislating for a progressively increasing tax on emissions, it’s the right thing to do”, he would have been successful, I believe. He could have done this years ago in return for NAMA. Instead he’s given us a green stroke. His party’s economic illiteracy has made them fail yet again.

  47. Ossian Smyth Says:

    Similar legislation to this was proposed by the all-party committee on climate change headed by FG and Labour. In the UK, the Climate Change Act (2008) had roughly equivalent provisions to this legislation and was passed by a majority of 463 to 3. The EU has set community wide emissions targets.

    So whether this is good or bad legislation, it would be wrong to say that it was some idiosyncratic stuff dreamt up by the Irish Green Party when it has such broad national and international support.

    Attacking the proposer of an argument rather than the substance of an argument itself is a primary logical fallacy.

  48. Al Says:

    @ Ossian
    With an election looming and the greens stating a wish for it to be in January, questioning the merits of pushing the imposition of an Act should involve questioning the motives of those involved.
    Further, do not confuse rhetoric with anger.
    And the,charge of logical fallacy is laughable.
    In an age when construction workers are classed as ‘green jobs’, let me ask you a question!
    Do you want to leave the euro?

  49. Joe Says:

    More flim flam nonsense supported by the morally debased Green party. Having no political mandate they want to inflict some joke climate legislation to boost their credentials because they are so obviously working hard to skive directorships from useless greenwash energy companies seing no one else will employ them after they are kicked out of government.

    They have zero credibility with the electorate, I mean who could have after supporting FF through 100% and assisting in destroying the economy

    I wonder how many suffered and died due to hypothermia in the recent cold snap, as they were too poor to afford the increased cost of heating due to Green mad cap fuel levies and other green stealth taxes

  50. Christian Says:

    Apart from the scientific arguments against the model of man-made global warming threatening to destroy the planet, this bill should be looked at in the context of what it is trying to do to us economically.

    On the first, I as a geologist am ready to debate it any time but no proponent will defend it. Sorry they will, by telling me that I’m an eejit, or other ad hominem accusations (e.g. see EWI above, Dec 24, 9.32pm). In other words, no alarmist will debate the science. If it is so clear-cut, I fail to see why they won’t debate the science – it should be a walkover if they’re right.

    On the economic argument, the bill is largely aspirational and dreams of a noble future without fossil fuels. We tried that up to the end of the 19th century and it is obviously forgotten that the large expansion of the middle classes is due to cheap energy. Subsidised and unreliable wind energy is not going to replace oil or coal. All the green industries in Ireland (e.g waste management) already need subsidies – a carbon tax is just another one.

    When the government tells us how our society will achieve the aspirations in the bill, we will be in a position to judge it properly. At the very least, I want to see why the costs of abandoning modern society are better than trying to stop the increase of a trace gas in the atmosphere without any guarantee of success.

  51. Neil S Says:

    @Richard,

    Have you any comments on that eurobarometer survey?

    Most feel that tackling AGW will have a positive impact on the economy. Unless I have interpreted this wrongly, is the greenhouse effect not a cost? It can be addressed by balancing the costs and benefits but it is still a cost.

    Following from this, most feel that the EU is not doing enough about AGW. It’s targets are the world’s toughest and like Kyoto will likely not be met?? Given the response of our own public to the PSO levy, it is hard to believe some of these answers.

    Ok so opinions may have shifted since Climategate and the recession but by how much and given that the AGW is a very long run problem

  52. Neil S Says:

    above continued…..hit send in error

    …given that AGW is long run problem, how relevant is the recession?

  53. Richard Tol Says:

    @Neil
    Alternative ways to read the Eurobarometer results are (1) that the Irish public is seriously misinformed/confused about climate change and climate policy and (2) that the survey is badly designed.

  54. fergaloh Says:

    RT – Did you write that with a straight face?

  55. Richard Tol Says:

    @fergaloh
    Sure. If you go through the various questions, then a very confusing picture emerges. This points to either a bad questionnaire (e.g., asking people about support for climate policy but not asking people about more expensive energy) or a large unformed opinion.

  56. Ossian Smyth Says:

    The Eurobarometer survey has three questions about alternative energy sources.

    Q9 asks respondents if they would pay more for greener energy.
    Excluding don’t knows, a majority of Europeans (and Irish) say they would pay more.

    Also a majority of Europeans (and Irish) believe that the renewables 20% target is about right or too modest. (Q12)

    Notable about Ireland in this survey is that there is a high proportion of don’t know answers to the questions about the 20-20-20 targets and willingness to pay more for green energy. This could indicate open-mindedness or lack of knowledge or even honesty.

    The Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change has been discussing policy for three years. This climate change bill has been in negotiation for over a year. Following a long Irish tradition, this law is based on existing previously enacted UK legislation, to mitigate the risk of unexpected consequences. So I think it would be hard to argue that the Climate Change Bill is rushed.

    But will it do any good? The UK Climate Change Act created a new administration whose reports are here: http://www.theccc.org.uk/
    You can read the reports and make a judgement.

    A common question is whether target setting is effective. For anyone in commercial management, it is self evident that metrics and targets are indispensable- rightly or wrongly, academics and governments may disagree.

  57. a physicist Says:

    There is currently no statistically significant scientific evidence that man-made global warming is occurring. However, there is new evidence emerging that we are entering a new global cooling phase. There is no scientific evidence that this cooling could be a man-made phenomenon.

  58. EWI Says:

    There is currently no statistically significant scientific evidence that man-made global warming is occurring. However, there is new evidence emerging that we are entering a new global cooling phase. There is no scientific evidence that this cooling could be a man-made phenomenon.

    Oh, for a citation or two!

  59. EWI Says:

    @ garo

    Reading RTol’s ambiguous statements can be misleading without a large pinch of salt (and checking elsewhere). From his own bio:

    Richard Tol holds an M.Sc. (1992, Econometrics) and a Ph.D. (1997, Economics) from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

    http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/Biography.5753.0.html

    No natural sciences qualifications there, I’m afraid. Apropos of nothing in particular, of course, I note the following developments in the US:

    “Academic Economists to Consider Ethics Code”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/business/economy/31economists.html?_r=1&hp

  60. a physicist Says:

    @EWI

    If you understood anything about the scientific method you would realise that the null hypothesis is that “man-made global warming does not exist”. this is what has to be rejected within a specified statistical significance. therefore the onus is for you to provide the so-called ‘scientific’ references for me. I have looked at the most cited ‘scientific’ evidence, and they fail to reject the null. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I can provide you with a citation on the scientific method if you like? Try Popper for a philosophical start on the subject

  61. EWI Says:

    therefore the onus is for you to provide the so-called ’scientific’ references for me.

    Hang on a second, genius: you made the (controversial) assertion here, not me (note that Tol won’t follow you down this route). The onus is therefore on you to back it up.

  62. Richard Tol Says:

    @physicist, EWI
    There is a plenty of statistical evidence that there is a link between the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and the global mean surface air temperature, starting roughly with Tol and de Vos (1993, TAC). It should be noted, though, that the statistical evidence is not incontrovertible (Beenstock and Reingewertz, unpub, 2009).

  63. a physicist Says:

    @EWI:

    You mean my claim that there is no statistically significant scientific evidence of AGW? Tell me where the evidence is please? The extraordinary claim is that AGW exists (before you insult i mean extraordinary in the context of scientific method as I used it above). That is why we need good scientific evidence before enacting legislation that encourages e.g. deforestation in order to produce biofuels – and other unpleasant side-effects. That public perception now runs something like: the climate of planet earth has been relatively stable for 100,000′s of years, that is, until the industrial revolution, and that the planet has never been warmer than now, is the result of lack of proper scientific debate and the publication and mass-media reporting of sociologically biased and scientifically flawed research that is masqueraded as science. Reading this blog demonstrates perfectly how any attempt at rational debate ends with accusations of political and sociological hidden agendas aimed at the free thinkers

  64. a physicist Says:

    Thank you Richard, I’ll take a look at your paper with interest and open scientific mind

  65. EWI Says:

    @ RTol

    Unpublished, you say? Why ever not?

    (Yes, easy to guess why…)

  66. EWI Says:

    @ apS

    As even RTol concedes (though perhaps grudgingly), the scientific view says otherwise. I repeat; it is up to you to provide some basis for your confident assertion that the scientists who study this are wrong. If not, you are, regrettably, just another loon on the Internet.

  67. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    Beenstock and Reingewertz introduce advanced econometrics to a climatological question, and reach a controversial conclusion. Such papers often take years to publish. Tol and de Vos (Climatic Change, 1997) was written in 1993. B&R will eventually be published, because their methods are sound.

  68. EWI Says:

    If I didn’t value my anonymity (no, you don’t know me), I’d wager a tidy sum of money against this latest little excursion by economists into ‘doing’ climatology standing the test of peer review. I see that it’s already the subject of some dispute:

    “So the new best thing in the denialsphere is a paper by Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz from the Department of Economics of the The Hebrew University where they pull a Wegman, analyzing climate data without knowing anything about the science. Now this is par for the course in economics where there are no constraints, but it ain’t so cool when you deal with physical reality.”

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/idiots-delight.html

    “Somebody else who thinks that statistics triumphs over physics. Or in other words, someone who thinks that the planet has to respond in some neat statistical way to a forcing. It doesn’t. Since this appears to be a working paper, I would advise that they do some more work – for instance with the AR4 archive to demonstrate that their methodology is able to distinguish causes in much simpler (though realistic) cases.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-and-spin/

    I make no claims to be a statistician (running some numbers through SPSS is as far as my abilities go) but they do seem to raise some legitimate points about what is allegedly only a ‘working paper’. As I say, if this thing ever gets peer-reviewed, there should be fun.

  69. EWI Says:

    the falsification of the ‘hockey stick’ graph by the IPCC, is only one of the appalling acts of deceit committed by this organisation

    Citation, le do thoil?

  70. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    For the hockey stick, look no further than McShane & Wyner (AAS, 2010). Read the paper rather than the blogs.

  71. EWI Says:

    Read the paper rather than the blogs.

    I assume that here you’re referring to the responses of Mann, Schmidt and others to a paper by (yet again) non-climate-scientists? In which case, I feel the need to point out that you yourself are just a “blogger” under these criteria.

  72. Richard Tol Says:

    @Pat
    It is indeed surprising that targets like these could be set without a proper assessment.

    There is published research on the 2020 targets, but the material on 2050 is unfinished.

  73. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    Imputing data is a statistician’s job. Shane and Wyner show that the proxy record contains insufficient information for a reliable reconstruction of the global mean temperature before the start of the instrumental record. No physics is involved. Their class of models encompasses the models used by paleoclimatologists (who do not use any physics either).

  74. EWI Says:

    @ RTol

    “Imputing data is a statistician’s job.”

    Those who bother to click through on even the Mann & Schmidt response will discover:

    On that specific issue, presumably just an oversight, MW apparently used the “Start Year” column in the M08 spreadsheet instead of the “Start Year (for recon)” column. The difference between the two is related to the fact that many tree ring reconstructions only have a small number of trees in their earliest periods and that greatly inflates their uncertainty (and therefore reduces their utility). To reduce the impact of this problem, M08 only used tree ring records when they had at least 8 individual trees, which left 59 series in the 1000 AD frozen network. The fact that there were only 59 series in the AD 1000 network of M08 was stated clearly in the paper, and the criterion regarding the minimal number of trees (8) was described in the Supplementary Information. The difference in results between the correct M08 network and spurious 95 record network MW actually used is unfortunately quite significant. Using the correct data substantially reduces the estimates of peak medieval warmth shown by MW (as well as reducing the apparent spread among the reconstructions). This is even more true when the frequently challenged “Tiljander” series are removed, leaving a network of 55 series. In their rebuttal, MW claim that M08 quality control is simply an ‘ad hoc’ filtering and deny that they made a mistake at all. This is not really credible, and it would have done them much credit to simply accept this criticism.

    With just this correction, applying MW’s own procedures yields strong conclusions regarding how anomalous recent warmth is the longer-term context. MW found recent warmth to be unusual in a long-term context: they estimated an 80% likelihood that the decade 1997-2006 was warmer than any other for at least the past 1000 years. Using the more appropriate 55-proxy dataset with the same estimation procedure (which involved retaining K=10 PCs of the proxy data), yields a higher probability of 84% that recent decadal warmth is unprecedented for the past millennium

    Did you even read that before replying?

  75. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    Mann, Schmidt, Zorita and others indeed try all they can to distract attention from the core message of the paper (which is of course robust to this sort of stuff).

  76. Ulick Stafford Says:

    @EWI
    What is your name? What are your qualifications? You make a lot of posts questioning other people’s qualifications and you use a three letter name that could be anything.

    In your recent post you cut and pasted a response from Mann and Schmidt. Now we would appreciate it if you could explain why this refutes McShane and Wyner (2010). These are difficult subjects and most of us need to have them explained.

    What is clear from reading Andrew Monfort’s excellent The Hockey Stick Illusion and other sources is that Mann et al in the original 98 paper used a statisitical tool that found and exaggerated the importance of any data series with a hockey stick shape. Stephen McKittrick used the same model and produced similar results with random step series. Most of the papers that have supposedly supported the hockey stick have had some data series or statistical method that was flawed and had a disproportionate effect on the shape. What is also intriguing is that data from many of these tree ring proxies after 1960 or 1980 were ignored because inconveniently the rings reduced in size at a time when temperatures were rising. This make their use as temperature proxies very questionable.

    If you provide me with your snail mail name and address I will post you my copy of the Hockey Stick Illusion if you promise to read it. That will not cost you anything except time.

    Ulick Stafford BE MS PhD (all 3 in Chemical Engineering) MBA CEng

  77. Ulick Stafford Says:

    Ooops! Of course I meant Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

  78. Mark Dowling Says:

    The Greens did not commit this country to the international obligations that are outstanding on Ireland, some of them involving substantial fines for non-compliance. Other governments did that. If the public had any faith in the other parties’ bona fides on the environment, the Greens would not have been electable in the first place.

    What the Greens through this (likely doomed) Bill are doing is attempting to create a framework where Ireland will approach compliance as promised by successive administrations. It may well be that they are not doing this in the correct way, but to refuse to do anything involves more than simply refusing to vote on the bill – it will involve formally repudiating those previous commitments, however that may be achieved. Having become an international financial pariah I’m not sure the next logical move is to become an environmental one too.

    This thread (the bits that aren’t the usual hairpulling by the usual suspects against one another) highlights the failure of both partisan and populist politics in dealing with multi-decade government interventions, the success of which will be ensured by coherency, consistency and tweaking rather than root and branch reworking in step with changes in governing parties.

    As for “carbon taxes hurt the old, the sick” etc. – that’s if you treat the problem as one of price rather than one of income. Additionally, if there was a real commitment to home insulation for low income families as more than merely a stimulus package for un(der)employed contractors whose shoddy techniques are the reason those people are shivering in the first place, those people could reduce the proportion of income spent on energy anyway.

  79. Richard Tol Says:

    @Mark
    Please note that the EU targets for 2020 were agreed on 23 April 2009. The draft bill has targets that go far beyond international obligations.

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